Monday, April 26, 2010


Trying to write a skeleton = trying to give birth.
Chopping off flesh is like giving away puppies.

Found another truly amazing fantastic Merleau-Ponty quote, which may help with what I mean by consciousness of a garment (may just confuse me even more). Definitely calling my first son Maurice. He says:

“The whole life of consciousness is characterised by the tendency to posit objects, since it is consciousness, that is to say self knowledge, only in so far as it takes hold of itself and draws itself together in an identifiable object. And yet the absolute positioning of an object is the death of consciousness, since it congeals the whole of existence, as a crustal placed in a solution suddenly crystallises it.”

(Merleau-Ponty 1972, pg. 71)

Maybe what I mean when I say "consciousness of a garment" is the way in which clothes delineate space on a person in an effort to posit oneself in form, however this is never fully achieved - its a dialogue - a push pull. So lost.

Here is my Skeleton thus far. I hope it's a conciseulation thinspiration - it feels pretty off, especially the concept lines.



  • What effect does drape have of experience of wearing
  • creating and/or undoing boundaries in a garment
  • Showing how clothes delineate space and posit the form of a person
  • How do you hide and reveal wear and form through drape (and possibly edges/ internal cutting/translucency/projection - this is hazy)
  • creating (and maybe revealing) a garment through hidden space
  • using grading to control space/or generate patterns?
  • finding a process to generate drape?
  • finding techniques or materialisation or methods of display to reveal internal space?
  • wearable garments connected or in the setting of an instillation
  • a heightened sens of space and wearing

Sunday, April 25, 2010


In an attempt to better understand what I like about methods of unbroken pattern cutting, the way it holds and creates space and its outcome in drape - I have compared a Vionnet Dress to a Tailored Jacket.

Vionnet's patterns use expanses of uncut fabric ordered in geometric and curvilinear shapes which when sewn and left to drop on the wearers body, form drape. The pattern used was created in 1936. It is a dress pattern, but I have cut it short to create a type of cape/top, so as to focus solely on upper body. It uses two quadrants of a circle each with as extension to form a sleeve. The pattern was initially been inspired by a monks habit. The dress uses a combination of kimono and raglan sleeves. It uses considerably less seams in its construction compared to those of the tailored jacket, only side seams, shoulder seams, and the seaming in of a diamond gusset in the sleeve base and furthermore the quality of the lines are more fluid and gradual.

The tailored jacket is one I found in an op-shop. On it's label at the center-back neck it says "Coronet - fashion at work", so it was probably a standard workwear jacket for a banker or some kind of corporate professional during the nineties. It is composed of ten separate pieces, three pairs of panels in the torso and one pair in each sleeve. Its pattern lines are intricate and worked compared to the Vionnet flat pattern. Its form also relies on a number of secondary shapings such as horse hair, fusing, shoulder pads, shoulder rolls etc.

There are a number of things which I find more pleasing about the techniques of the Vionnet Pattern. However saying this, they are most fully appreciated in contrast to and amongst the techniques of tailoring.

The jackets shaping is achieved using a number of darts, and fusings considered in placement and measurement. The dress relies on the drop of its bias cutting to create drapery and fluting. It has a box pleat at its centre front, which shows a condensing of the patterns fabric, an expanse of measurement which has been left in . The neck of the cape is gathered, I used curtain tape to do this - again something adjustable and not fixed. This in opposition to the jacket, whose form is achieved through the subtraction of value. The Vionnet dress, is as a result more complex to look at. The figure underneath is distorted, hidden. As I look at the dress being worn, I'm thinking about how the form underneath fits into it, where is fills and where it billows.

The Vionnet top allows flow and movement, allowing fit to a number of variable and complex forms. As its form is based in unfixed drape, it can easily change and give way through movement, allowing freeness is movement, which in turn effects wearing consciousness - much like that described; “...monks have invented a habit that, while fulfilling, on its own, the requirements of demeanour (majestic, flowing, all of a piece, so that it fell in statuesque folds), it left the body (inside, underneath) completely free and unaware of itself...ennobling it, released it, was free to think and forget about itself.”- (Eco, U. 1987). Futhermore it presents a number of possible permutations. The fabric could be interpreted through temporary fixations by its wearer, pinning it, clasping it etc.

The patterns base in classicism and antiquity can be seen as a form of functionalism. As described by Harold Koda "Classical dress could be submitted to the functionalist criteria of modernists: the attempt to pare all expressive qualities of their work to the elements and process of fabrication and signs of utility." - (2003, pg 17., Goddess: The Classical Mode). This can be seen in the pattern which bases all of its aesthetics and significance in its minimal uncut method of creating form. In this way it has a type of transparency in how it uses measurement and shape, which may therefore create more of a dialogue and understanding with it's wearer. The workings of a tailored jacket are hidden underneath its linings and through the pattern of its seams.

Azzedine Alaia draping a Vionnet dress.

- Richard Buckminster Fuller (1895 1983)

I have been thinking a lot about what integrity means. It is a notion of consistency and alignment with initial or underlying crux which can be applied to a range of ideas, forms, concepts, beliefs etc.

Looking at a number of definitions it is described that; “inter-lying as a concept it has to do with consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations and outcomes.” Another definition, in the contexts I’m looking at, describe it as:

1. Adherence to principles

2. The quality of being unimpaired, soundness

3. Unity / wholeness, from an etymological / latin based stand point, it means wholeness or perfect condition - from the latin ‘integer’ meaning whole.

Of course the filament or membrane that constructs a fold is whole - unbroken - un-seamed, however it will always have an edge, but maybe this cant be distorted, or completely hidden?

In two dimensional form I guess the shape with the most integrity is the circle (one sided), in three dimension, its the sphere which when flattened makes the ellipse. However a circle is still closed, can it somehow be open? This kind of makes me think of this Merleau Ponty quote;

“If one wants metaphors, it would be better to say that the body sensed and the body sentient are as the obverse and the reverse, or again, as two segments of one sole circular course which goes above from left to right and below from right to left, but is not but one sole movement in its two phases.” [1962, pg. 138]

The circle is of course constructed from one side, however is moves in two sets of coupled directions, up and down (y axis) side to side (x axis). By splitting the two types of a circle and making their path lie in one continuing direction we create a fold. Two sides of a circle - split them open so they are visible? Makes a fold?

Here is another Merleau Ponty quote which shows the arrangement of closed circle in experience. The idea can relate to form and display.

“There is the circle of the touched and the touching, the touched takes hold of the touching; these is a circle of visible and then seeing, the seeing is not without visible existence; there is even an inscription of the touching in the visible, of the seeing in the tangible - and the converse; there is finally a propagation of these exchanges to all the bodies of the same type and of the same style which I see and touch - and by this virtue of the fundamental fission or segregation of the sentient and the sensible which, literally, makes organs from my body communicate and founds transitivity from one body to another.” [1962, pg. 143]

Allowing the sentient if be seen through the sensible - cutting the circle - un-folding the fold - pulling back the curtain. Much like this diagram from Deleuze [1993. pg 120]

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ephemeral Modulation

Some believe fashion is based in a binary code of 'in' and 'out'. As you may have noticed, Im all about the complexity of dualisms. However I only find notions 'in' and 'out' useful when applied to structure of form, not of validation. I want the garments to be experienced with an amount of phenomenal interpretation, this possible spectrum of singleness and separateness in the look of wearing being interesting in translating into an overall communication. I want the garments to have a type interpretation. I read this and perhaps recognised this idea,

"If we took all these participations into account, we would recognise that... in general a visible, in not a chunk of absolutely hard, indivisible being, offered all naked to a vision which could be only total or null, but is rather a sort of straits between exterior horizons and interior horizons ever gaping open, something that comes to touch lightly and marks diverse regions of the ... visible world resound at distances, a certain differentiation, an ephemeral modulation of this world..." (Merleau Ponty, M. 1968)

I've been really troubled with how on earth to generate a pattern from everything researched. I don't think this coming exercsie was particualrily useful, maybe, maybe not. I undertook grading a basic bloc disproportionaley. The amounts of grading I placed at each cardinal point was complete chance, with no reference to anything. I recorded the rules in a table below:

I think recording like this may be helpful in dissemination later? Or maybe it's a way of people recording how they wear or how they experience their interpretation of a garment?

I also started thinking more about drape in flux. How do you order flux. I've been trying to think of other objects or things that are in flux? What the Flux? Maybe if I understand their form, I can better understand how to apply this to drape? Also after presenting last week, during the afternoon workshop, Pia suggested I interpret the one sided aspect of a fold in terms of a "filament." These two ideas made me think of hair (this does not mean I will use hair literally in my clothes in ANY way.) Hair is a bunch of filaments in flux. How do you order hair? With bobby pins? Hair pinned up to reveal the neck. Of course the Chiton and Peplos were held together (and perhaps interpreted) with fastenings - much like a bobby pin in a way. So I applied this idea to the graded block, its probably still a bit choppy and literal:

Curtain by dutch interior designer Nicolette Brunklaus

Above - Artemis of Galbi, 4th Century B.C. - fastening Chiton

Jean Auguste- Dominique, Study of the Apotheosis of Homer, early 19t century

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Proposal for Fourth Year Project



Fashion as a garment or a space is most intimately experienced through subjective wearing. Wearing is a peculiar enigma, reliant on experiencing space and the way in which it takes scope through its construction and boundaries. A person’s consciousness is commonly accepted to lie inside their body. Can a consciousness fill a garment, or transcend through a garment? One can say that “Dress lies at the margins of the body and marks the boundary between self and other, individual and society. This boundary is intimate and personal since our dress forms the visible envelop of the self and serves as a visual metaphor for identity.” (Entwistle, J. 2001) The phenomena of being and wearing bring up dualistic notions of form and consciousness; the imagined body / physical body, conscious being / corporeal being, interior self / exterior display, self / otherness. Can a fashion garment possibly reconcile or link these opposites?


I would like to investigate and explore the way a worn/experienced fashion space is determined through an idea of consciousness relating to body dualities. Fashion is based in space, a space which is worn/experienced. Wearing echoes embodiment as being encased in wearing. I plan to interrogate how and where consciousness and space meet in fashion? How is the space of a garment/instillation determined through an idea of consciousness around the body? How far does this consciousness diffuse and where is it lost? How does a garment reconcile dualities in the body and being through the wearing of a constructed space? How can the intimate practice of this enigma be shown?


My research has been based (thus far) in the writing of the Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard , The Fold by Giles Deleuze and also concepts of philosophers and fashion theorists placing their work in the understandings of phenomenology, namely those of Joanne Entwistle, Susanne Kozel and Maurice Merleau-Ponty.

Drapery and in essence, its foldings, construct and hold space in a dynamic way that displays surface and depth, inside and outside, worn and shown. Folds are... “ transformations [which] convey the projection, on external space, of internal spaces defined by ‘hidden parameters’ and variables or singularities of potention” (Deleuze, G. 1993) Drapery shows the frictions and forces of wearing and looking. Why is folding a means of construction which seems to show dualities? Can the physical body transcend through drapery?

Other initial research areas have included the object of a curtain and its use in fashion precedents. The curtain is an expanse of material which acts as a border, much like a garment, experienced from point of view and display. It is an object based in foldings and drapery. In the context of Deleuze I have been looking at drapery as a metaphor for when two separates are one. Drapery is also an a construction method and surface, which can be read in the context of baroque statues and antiquity. Draping is a dynamic way of showing surface and depth, inside and outside, whats worn and whats shown in a garment.

Phenomenology can be used in looking at effective ways in exhibiting an experience. In essence it is "relate[ing] to how the act of hyper-reflection, where concepts begin to be elaborated in and through experience, is materialised into form. " (Kosel, S. 2007) How can phenomenology be applied in disseminating the experience of wear?

METHODS/APPROACH (tests and exploration)

Methods will entail a interrogative and explorative use of drapery. Research will be taken into forms that use drapery and fashion precedents that use these forms. Can drapery be constructed or systemized? How does one construct drape in pattern-making and can be commercially disseminated through pattern? Further exploration into devices that connect to the use of a fold and how these delineate space will be undertaken. How does unbroken expanse of textile form drape and how can this be organised to show body dualities and an objective sense or experience of embodiment?

I will also investigate ways of disseminating a fashion experience in ways other than form. Most probably through instruction or numbers. This brings up the notion of grading as a generative tool. Grading is a commercial fashion system which uses equations of space proportion to iterate a breadth of sizes. It is a way of controlling measurement of space for the appropriate form. Can a system of disproportionate grading inform the use of measurement, thus space in the design and construction of the collection? What size is my consciousness? How is the capacity of a consciousness held in a garment?

The use of drape implies a state of flux and a type of random, opportunistic behavior. This gives way to looking at the way interpretation of a garment takes place through wearing. Can a collection of garments heighten their wearers sense of awareness through subjective interpretation by the wearer or perhaps by a type of interrogation in the process of getting dressed.

Exploration into construction and design methods will be echoed with exploration into their display in an installation context. I will undertake testing into how a sense of intimacy and subjectivity is achieved through the wearing and display of space and how this transition from subjective to objective takes place.

Self reflection in wearing is an idea that interests me, and this happens in the process of getting dressed and also in the space of the change-room. The change room is an intimate place where the wearer is alone with their image pondering the phenomena of the garment abound their being. I would like to research the way this consciousness is created and if it can be revealed or shown. Can the space of wearing be shown through something other than the fabric of a garment? Perhaps a type of projection of imagery? Can you wear a consciousness?


The recordings and developments of my thoughts at their roughest and most preliminary phase will be recorded in a series of A5 journals. Weekly posts on my blog will show images, clips and texts which inform and document my development.

I will also document my process through the development of toiles, photographs and sketches of a more polished format collated in a A3 format with the inclusion of 3D patterns. I will undertake a series of tests in formats of display and dissemination of my work and possibly film these experiences. Film and projection is something I would like to further explore in an instillation, adding to the display of surface and depth.

OUTCOMES (experience and dissemination)

The collection will take form in a collection, most probably a series of garments. The garments may be experienced somewhere between and incorporating both objective viewing and personal wearing. How you integrate these two opposites in dissemination being a main concern of the project. How do you display garments in a way when viewed and worn give a heightened sense of the way a garment takes up space around a body and in the greater space of a room? Any extraneous communication other than garments or display which may photography, film, or catalogue will be used in way to further communicate ideas of phenomenological wearing.

In essence I hope the garments further communicate a sense of wearing to their viewers and the type of self-reflection and awearness that comes with wearing. This may be done through a type of participation from the viewer in wearing, of a garment, of a space, or a consciousness.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

“Dress lies at the margins of the body and marks the boundary between self and other, individual and society. This boundary is intimate and personal since our dress forms the visible envelop of the self and serves as a visual metaphor for identity

- (Entwistle, J. 2001)

Friday, April 9, 2010


On the left is the baroque sculpture St. Cecilia - (Stefano Maderno 1600, Marble length 102cm.) On the right id the dialogue she may be having with the garment of folded fabric over her body and face.

St. Cecilia: Wear am I whereing?
Folds: Where are you wearing?
St. Cecilia: Yes, where is it that I wear?
Folds: Wherein I wear!
St. Cecilia: What about whereout you wear?
Folds: Where is that exactly?
St. Cecilia :Wear is that exactly !
Folds: exactly, wear is where ?!
St Cecilia: where is wear?
Folds: Wear is where you wear!
St Cecilia: Yes, but where is that?
Folds: I just told you, wear is where you are whereing?!

Wearing is asking where you conscious space lies? Wearing might be a process of constant questioning? How can I create garments or a pattern system that questions its wearer? Why do folds ask so many questions? Can drapery be systemised or is it always in interpretational flux?

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Draped Drapes

In initial development of my studio work I have been looking for a 3D object to use, which encapsulates the themes of my research thus far. Primarily the texts which have spoken to me the most have included The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard, The Fold by Giles Deleuse and parts from both The Visible and the Invisible and Phenomenology of Perception by Maurice Merleau-Ponty. I think what im looking at is the way a fashion space is determined through an idea of consciousness around the body, in some ways fererring to it's dualities. The fashion space Im looking at is one based in experience, the space of the wearer and the place in which the wearer experiences. This brings up many dualities including the conciouss body/the physical body, subjective/objective, inside/outside, visible/invisible, materiality/metaphore. I want to explore how a fashion garment and the wearing or experience of that garment links, overcomes, intergrates these opposites.

The object which I first found useful in displaying these ideas was a curtain. A Curtin is something which in function reveals what we can see and hides what we cannot see, blocks and facilitates, it allows physical conclusions and an infinity of wonderings. It is physical, yet also in some ways elastic. It extends and compresses. It is a boundry line between two sides which has the ability to both seperate and join. It is a flat 2D form which becomes three dimensional in through folds and drapery. It is an expanse of fabric which acts as border and sets a perimiter. Its experience is very much based on point of view, from which side of the curtain you stand. It is made up of and interley based on the function of a fold. The curtain has, "transformations [which] convey the projection, on external space, of internal spaces defined by 'hidden parameters' and variables or singularities of potention" (Deleuses 1993:16). The boundries of body concious shift, and change through the amiguous space of wearing, much like that of a curtain.

As Delueze states, "According to Lebeniz, two parts of really destinct matter [perhaps one side of the curtain and the other side of the curtain, or on the side of body experience and the side of otherness] can be inseperable, as shown not only by the action of surrounding forces that determine the curvilinear movement of the body but also the pressure of surrounding forces that determine its hardness (coherence, cohesion) or the inseparability of its parts. Thus it must be stated that the body has a degree of hardness as well as a degreee of fluidity, or that it is essentially elastic, the elstic force of bodies being the expression of the active compressive force exerted on matter." The body much like the fold holds a fluidity, a kind of will to trancend much like "the folds in the soul", but also has a hardness, an amassed matter much like "the pleates of the matter." The 'fold' of bodily experience is reiterated in the 'fold' of wearing. Again this 'fold' of experience if found in the 'fold' of the curtain.

In looking at curtains, a number of practitioners, have used this in the past as form, metaphore and something in between. Cosmic Wonders 2002 garment/installation collection ‘A Shadow Necessary for Window” shows a dress take a surreal type of emergence from a curtain with a figure placed in its form. The expanse of curtain is then pulled across to show a naked figure lying on a mattress. The peice expresses a type of intimacy of domestic habitat and clothed habitat. The connection of dressed body and naked body through the curtain creates an aesthetic of protection, and cover.

The Curtain is used by MATERIALBYPRODUCT in a number of deviceful and allegorical ways. MBP descibe thier series of curtains as an “ambiguous moment” in thier initial creative generation. Often first rendered as a type of printed screen, they give rise to the fabrication and sense of surface of the immenent collection. The curtain also refers to a sense of antiquity, as they describe, “a period when the same piece of cloth could be worn as a draped garment, used as a blanket to sleep under at night, or hung as a curtain or partition.” This giving a sense of how garment and interior overlap in shared function and form. A garment is an interior and an interoir is worn. Furthermore the curtain as used by MBP takes on a modtuar outcome, highlighting a construction between dape and cut - this most prominent in thier SS09 collection in which the ‘block out finish’ of the curtain material used, doubled in funtion allowing internal and raw cuts.

Shigeru Ban Architects in 1993 created the Curtain Wall House. This building uses conventional domestic drapery and transforms it into the exterior of a building. The curtain wall functions in changing the experience of interior/exterior conditions by its opening the closing. It sheds the curtain in a light of protection, covering and shelter in an infrastructure-type way.

To me the curtain is the possibility and threshold to connection, and within this having the ability to change the degree of which that connection is shown. It stops and allows a line of sight and a line of experience. It is also a surface. It delineates the space of view/experience. It is a piece of fabric. It's what a mum's skirt looks like from the inside when a child hides between under he legs and looks outward. Its what conceals a change-room, the change-room curtain, where I experience wear. Within its folds are pockets of intimacy, covering and space for reflection. Below are some pics of experiments I have been doing with curtains;